Black Caps batting coach Luke Ronchi has praised Rachin Ravindra’s World Cup prowess as the young all-rounder approaches record swag.
The 23-year-old Ravindra – who would not have been in the starting team of New Zealand if Kane Williamson had not missed the opening games due to injury – created a permanent place after scoring three centuries among his 523 tournament runs.
Ronchi says the left-hander’s performance has been longer than expected even by those in the Black Caps squad who recognized his talent.
“I think when he came into the World Cup he didn’t expect to play as much as he did but because Kane wasn’t available for the first few games – Rachin came in and hit beautifully and he’s been through every game ,” said Ronchi.
“He’s been in different situations in different games and has shown a level head and maturity beyond his age.
“Obviously he had a great tournament. To score three hundreds and to score the runs he has – and the composure he has shown in the middle…”
Ravindra is third in the tournament’s run charts, close behind South Africa’s Quinton de Kock (550 runs) and India’s Virat Kohli (543).
The trio are in contention to surpass Indian great Sachin Tendulkar’s mark of 673 since 2003 for the most runs in any World Cup.
Martin Guptill’s 547 in 2015 is the most runs by New Zealand at the World Cup.
Ravindra is on the verge of surpassing another Tendulkar milestone.
One more run will claim the 523 scored by Tendulkar at the 1996 tournament, so far the highest score by any player aged 25 or younger.
Ronchi believes that Thursday’s crucial final group match against Sri Lanka presents Ravindra and the rest of New Zealand’s batsmen with a chance to shine.
The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium venue in Bangalore was the scene of last week’s run-fest against Pakistan in which the Black Caps scored 400 runs – including Ravindra on 108 – but it was still there.
“With the few games that have been played here, there have been some high scores, so unless there is something different going on in the preparation of the surface, I would imagine it will be another high-scoring affair,” said Ronchi.
“The batters will be licking their lips and the bowlers will know it’s going to be hard work, but that’s the case for most World Cups anyway.”
A win over Sri Lanka will boost New Zealand’s hopes of fending off Pakistan and Afghanistan to claim the fourth and final semi-final spot.
Ronchi said he expected the selectors to have a fully fit squad after pace bowler Lockie Ferguson (Achilles tendon) trained without incident in a rain-affected practice session on Tuesday.
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